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Friday View: Management Macro uncertainty keep calm wait opportunity

The Job Interview – PPF head of investment strategy Ian Scott

The Job Interview – PPF head of investment strategy Ian Scott

Friday 9th December 2016

The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has appointed Ian Scott as head of investment strategy. He was previously head of global equities at Barclays.

If you didn’t work in investment, what career would you have chosen?

I think I would have ended up in a commercial or consultancy role, probably involving the use of economics in some shape or form.

What was your favourite subject at school and why?

There were two actually – economics and history. I think they give tremendous insights into the world we live in today which are not necessarily obvious without the knowledge gained by study.

What was your first paid role?

I worked in the economics department at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). This was a great place to start, in applying the things I learnt at university, but also providing exposure to very senior business leaders.

What led you to a career in investment?

I love the idea that you get to test your knowledge and analytical ability against the “market”. Of course this can sometimes be a humbling experience, but more often than not, good thorough analysis wins out.

What are your priorities for this new role?

My priority is to make sure the PPF continues its excellent track record of providing the best investment returns possible within a tightly controlled risk budget, on behalf of its members and levy payers. The PPF has a unique liability profile and that requires a unique and innovative approach to our asset management. If I can contribute to that I will have done a good job.

What is the biggest hurdle for institutional investors at present?

The impact of unconventional monetary policy. While there are good reasons why central banks employed unconventional techniques in the aftermath of the crisis, they have had a dramatic effect on financial markets. Judging the scale of this and when it might start to wane is the biggest issue.

What one change would you make to investment legislation/regulation?

The EU’s requirement for derivative contracts to be cleared centrally. This may help transparency and counterparty concentration risk, but schemes will have to hold more cash, which impacts returns and/or asset allocation.

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